Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

There's a Pops Concert for Mother's Day

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

There's a Pops Concert for Mother's Day

Article excerpt

Byline: TAMARA McCLARAN

Like many people from around the Beaches, Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra Music Director Fabio Mechetti is looking forward to the annual Mother's Day Pops at the Beach Concert.

"People who have been there before will know what I'm talking about," Mechetti said. "It's a wonderful opportunity to listen to great music in beautiful surroundings. I hope more people will join us this year."

Mechetti will be conducting the JSO's free performance during the 14th annual concert Sunday at the SeaWalk Pavilion in Jacksonville Beach. When he's not performing on stage, he plans to enjoy the Mother's Day festivities as he has done in the past with his wife, Aida Ribeiro, and 5-year-old twin daughters, Carolina and Marina.

"The girls have come three times now and they enjoy it very much," Mechetti said. "Last year they were dancing and parading in front of the stage."

Reduced funding for the arts nearly silenced this year's concert. Jacksonville Beach was poised to cut the popular event, attended by about 6,000 people last year, because of a reduction in property tax revenues.

"I was horrified that we might not have the concert this year," said Marilyn Matejcek, city events coordinator. "It wasn't in this year's budget and it won't be in next year's budget."

City staff looked for other funding alternatives to keep the music alive. The Beaches Fine Arts Series agreed to sponsor this year's event.

"We did not want this event to go away," said Kathy Wallis, BFAS executive director. "We were really concerned. This is one of the few times people hear the symphony perform free of charge."

The orchestra performance begins at 8 p.m. Mechetti will conduct a lively and accessible pops program with a New York theme and several Broadway numbers.

"We are hoping to take all of the mothers to New York City without actually leaving Jacksonville Beach," Mechetti said. …

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